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The 20 Best U2 Songs of All Time

August 4, 2009  |  7:00am
The 20 Best U2 Songs of All Time
After having so much fun compiling the list of the Best R.E.M. songs, I had to take a stab at doing the same for U2. I polled our Twitter followers and my fanatical friends, who then suggested more than 50 different songs, including just about every cut from War, Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. All five of the first tracks off Joshua Tree made this list, but it also draws from nearly every era—from Boy all the way up to Atomic Bomb (and an argument could be made for No Line on the Horizon's "Magnificent" or "White as Snow"). Tell me why I'm wrong.

20. "Miss Sarajevo" (Original Soundtracks)
Part of the Original Soundtracks side project under the moniker Passengers, "Miss Sarajevo" features an operetic solo by Luciano Pavoratti, allowing Bono a rare moment of understated vocals.



19. "Vertigo" (How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
It's hard to separate the music from the dancing rainbow silhouettes, but "Vertigo" is just a monstrously catchy tune.



18. "The Unforgettable Fire" (The Unforgettable Fire)
With the commercial success of War, the band earned itself a little artistic freedom, and they lured Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois to produce The Unforgettable Fire. The spacious title track proved that to be a great decision.



17. "Angel of Harlem" (Rattle and Hum)
It's easy to write off Rattle and Hum as an unfortunate post-Joshua Tree hiccup, but the album has quite a few forgotten gems like this horn-filled tribute to Billie Holiday.



16. "I Will Follow" (Boy)
The only song the band has performed on every tour, their first hit single "I Will Follow" is about unconditional love. How punk does



15. "Bullet the Blue Sky" (Joshua Tree)
Bono growls the lyrics of Joshua Tree's fourth track, and The Edge's guitar screeches like a siren. As the song breaks down, Bono turns it into a poetry slam.



14. "40" (War)
Ending an anti-war album with Psalm 40 is an example of how U2 has so perfectly used light and faith and optimism to contrast the darkness they often sing about. On the album's first track "Sunday Bloody Sunday" they ask "How long to sing this song?" In the closer, Bono declares "I will sing, sing a new song" before returning bringing that original question into a new context.



13. "Acrobat" (Achtung Baby)
If "I Still Haven't Found What I've Looking For" was a lament about not having all the answers, "Acrobat" is an angrier response to those who might try to shove false ones in your face. 



12. "Stay (Faraway, So Close)" (Zooropa)
I don't have a lot of love for Zooropa, but this song is an understated treasure in an album of excess.



11. "All I Want Is You" (Rattle and Hum)
Another bright spot on Rattle and Hum is closer "All I Want Is You." An epic affair clocking in at over six minutes with The Edge's rambling guitar playing off the orchestral strings.


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